Junior Emilio Rodriguez and senior Bailee Lane are the top tennis players on the varsity team.
Junior Emilio Rodriguez and senior Bailee Lane are the top tennis players on the varsity team.

Tennis Aces

Varsity Tennis Team Ranked at State Level

Looking around, he sees his teammate, sweating, serious, and focused on the next round. He glances at his two opponents across the net, gripping their racquets and preparing to serve. And then he sees the tennis ball flying towards him. Junior Emilio Rodriguez races towards the ball, prepared to win the game for his team and for himself.

In September, the varsity tennis team was named first in the region and fourth in the state by the Texas Tennis Coaches Association (TTCA). These rankings are determined by coaches who review all standings and match scores and voting on placement. On October 10, the team beat Farmersville to clinch the Bi-District championship.  They will now play Sulphur Springs on October 13 to determine the area champions.

“My goal for the team this year is to win a state championship,” Randal Namanny, varsity tennis coach, said. “It’s a goal we put on the board every year, but this year I think we have a better chance of doing that than we have in the past.”

The preseason rankings came out in August, and this is when the team discovered they were named fourth. The regular season rankings came out mid September, and the team held the rank. 

“Hopefully this season will be a long run,” Namanny said. “With every one we have returning, there is a good chance that we will still be playing at the end of October.”

Two of this years star players are Rodriguez and senior Bailee Lane. They both play for the varsity team and are the top boy and girl players.

“Both of them are team leaders and just great players,” Namanny said. “They understand what it’s going to take to get us to that next level and they are pushing their teammates to do it.” 

Rodriguez started tennis after watching his older brother play in high school and has now been playing tennis on varsity since his freshman year. 

“Emilio has held his spot undeniably,” Namanny said. “He is definitely our best boy on the team. He’s got a lot of wins under his belt.”

Last year, Rodriguez competed at the state competition in the singles rounds. This year, he hopes to compete at state a second time, and win state as a junior.

“What I enjoy most about tennis is the competition,” Rodriguez said. “Being able to play high level tennis has always been my goal, and I am starting to see that goal become reality.”

Lane started playing tennis in junior high because both her sister and dad had played in high school. Over the summer she was dealing with a wrist injury, but has managed to come back this year and maintain her number one rank.

“She has really stepped into that senior leadership role on the girl’s side of the ball,” Namanny said. “She started the year in a little bit of a slump trying to get back into playing and getting healthy, but she never stopped being a leader.”

Lane’s main goal for the team as a whole is to make it to state for team tennis. Individually, she wants to compete at state for individual tennis in the spring season.

“I really like the friendships and bonds I’ve formed with my teammates,” Lane said. “All of the relationships I have with everybody are driving me to work as hard as I can to improve my game mentally and physically.”

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